The Bronx

The Bronx

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Following up their fiery 2003 debut, the Bronx return with their second self-titled effort. Whereas that album was an unexpected punch to the gut with its hungry hardcore punk delivery, on this set the Los Angeles outfit seems to have softened just a touch. Veteran producer Michael Beinhorn (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Korn, Mew) joins the Bronx in concocting an almost alt-metal sound; such a huge change makes it hard to digest. Imaging a polished version of Queens of the Stone Age meets Social Distortion is where the Bronx stand here. The rage, the passion, and the disgust for cultural norms seem a bit forced this time, but the album starts out strong with ferocious songs such as "Small Stone" and "Shi**y Future." When vocalist Matt Caughthran starts singing is where things kind of fall apart. "Dirty Leaves" and "Around the Horn" are broken by anxious choruses and layered harmonies, making the Bronx's overall sound comes off a bit directionless. "White Guilt" actually sounds happy with its Dropkick Murphys-like punk-pop sincerity. The Bronx? Happy? Since this is their major-label debut for Island, perhaps label's A&R department played a part in the recording process? Regardless, the spirit that made the first album a cult classic in the making doesn't show up here.

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